Objective To report the clinical, electroencephalographic, and neuroradiologic findings in a kindred with a novel insertion in the prion protein gene, PRNP.
Design Clinical description of a kindred.
Setting Mayo Clinic Alzheimer Disease Research Center (Rochester, Minnesota).
Subjects Two pathologically confirmed cases and their relatives.
Main Outcome Measures Clinical features, electroencephalographic patterns, magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities, genetic analyses, and neuropathologic features.
Results The proband was a woman with clinical and neuroimaging features of atypical frontotemporal dementia and ataxia. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures developed later in the disease course, and electroencephalography revealed spike and wave discharges but no periodic sharp-wave complexes. Her affected sister and father also exhibited frontotemporal dementia–like features, and both experienced generalized tonic-clonic seizures and gait ataxia late in the disease course. Genetic analyses in the proband identified a novel defect in PRNP, with 1 mutated allele carrying a 288–base pair insertion consisting of 12 octapeptide repeats. Neuropathologic examination of the proband and her sister revealed prion protein–positive plaques and widespread tau-positive tangles.
Conclusions This kindred has a unique combination of clinical and neuropathologic features associated with the largest base pair insertion identified to date in PRNP and underscores the need to consider familial prion disease in the differential diagnosis of a familial frontotemporal dementia–like syndrome.